CNN's Van Jones Calls Out Conservative Guest For Smearing The Black Lives Matter Movement For The Actions Of A Few

Jones: “It Is In Fact Not The Case That The Vast Majority Of People Who Have Been Commenting About Police Misconduct Have Been Saying Irresponsible Things. It Is A Very Small Minority. It's A Disturbing Minority”

From the July 8 edition of CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper:

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JIM SCIUTTO (HOST): Buck Sexton, I had the opportunity to speak with the Texas lieutenant governor a short time ago, and he placed some blame, he criticized voices who are blaming police for shootings of young black men, like we have seen earlier this week, for being partly responsible for the shooting of these cops in Dallas. I wonder if you share that criticism. 

BUCK SEXTON: Well, yes. It certainly is partially true. What we've seen, and this has now happened in a number of incidents. And it should be kept in mind that here in New York, we had two NYPD police officers, Ramos and Liu, who were gunned down. And their killer, their assassin, said that it was because of revenge for Eric Garner, and it was essentially the Black Lives Matter movement he believed inspired him to do this. We've also now seen this in Tennessee, as the secretary mentioned, as well as the horrific events in Dallas last night. The temperature of rhetoric against police officers has been getting raised for many months now. And this has been happening in a way that, quite honestly, is reckless, and we've seen the end results of that with some of these shootings, but also it's just damaging and counterproductive to police relations with minority communities across the board. This notion, and this is one that really needs to be combated head-on, that police officers in a broad spectrum way are targeting young African-American men for murder without consequence and without the sympathy of their fellow Americans for the situation is something that inspires this sort of incitement and hateful rhetoric. Or it is rather the hateful rhetoric that I think Secretary Clinton was alluding to there. And it's time that we separate out, if we want to have a conversation about policing, if we want to have a conversation about the sorts of tactics, de-escalation, community policing, all of the things that currently are underway. And actually, there's a lot of bipartisan support for this. There needs to also be a willingness to say that no, cops are not racist murderers and killers. These are things that I've heard at protests myself, by the way. I've taken photos of placards, the notion that for example in Ferguson, justice was not done. The D.O.J. report, I guess, some people believe is still a lie, that Mike Brown was killed by an officer and an unjust system did nothing about it. These are things that are very damaging, and I think the country is finally now able to look at these issues for what they are and say, yes, there is a willingness for bipartisan, criminal justice reform, but there also has to be an honesty about the scope and scale of the problem. Less than 100 unarmed people of any race were killed in 2015, that's according to The Washington Post. We're a country of 320 million people.

SCIUTTO: Buck, let's give Van Jones a chance to respond.

VAN JONES: Well, I would need 20 minutes to respond to all of that. But what I will say is simply this: It is in fact not the case that the vast majority of people who have been commenting about police misconduct have been saying irresponsible things. It is a very small minority. It's a disturbing minority. I agree with you there, Buck, and it has to be combated. But I'll tell you the pronouncements that incite a lot of this stuff: No indictment, no indictment, no indictment, not guilty, not guilty. That is what's been inflated. There's no excuse for lunatics going and shooting innocent people, innocent police officers. I'm not making any excuses, but I think that what's actually fueling this is not some placard or what somebody said at some rally that nobody even heard, except they got on social media. What's fueling this is a sense that nobody cares and that the official pronouncements of our government show a level of indifference and a lack of concern. And I think it's very, very important that we affirm our right to petition our government for redress of our grievances, and for that to be the main thing that we say and that these minority voices be marginalized. But I am tired of the entire movement being smeared by the extreme words of a few. It's not fair. It's not fair at all.


SEXTON: It's more of an idea than a movement, right? There's no central command authority for Black Lives Matter, but they need to be willing to say, look, you can't go around saying that cops are killers. That's a bad idea. That's counterproductive to some of the very good things you're trying to achieve. And I do also have to point out that in the cases of these assassinations of police officers, we have three of them now where specifically the rhetoric of the Black Lives Matter movement has been cited as the instigating issue at hand. Yes, they're crazy people, there are other issues we can get into as well, but let's not pretend that there isn't a connection. 

SCIUTTO: Let's give Van a chance to respond.

VAN JONES: You say so many things, it's impossible. I don't want to be rude and interrupt here, but listen. We have a problem with crazy people doing crazy things in this country because they can all get guns. Dylann Roof went in there and shot up a whole church full of African-Americans, and he said he did it because of this racial propaganda that is growing by the so-called alt-right. But we don't talk about that. Somebody went in and shot up a whole Planned Parenthood saying it's because they're a Christian. We have crazy people grabbing guns and doing crazy things, but we should not blame, we should not give them the pass of saying that you're doing this because somebody held up a placard. That is completely not the right way for us to proceed. What we need to be able to do is say crazy people getting guns and doing horrible things is inexcusable, and all of our movements, religious and political, need to stand against violence. But I'm tired of the entire movement being smeared by a few.


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